Group of Seven movement
In the early nineteen hundreds there were a group of Canadian painters that began noticing similar style in one another’s works. These artists met at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, which was a place for Canadian artists to discuss, meet, debate, and critique artwork. The members that would later become the Group of Seven included Tom Thomson, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston and Franklin Carmichael. A.Y. Jackson, Lawren S. Harris later joined the group with Dr. James MacCallum around 1913. World War I disrupted the group’s art endeavors but by 1920 they had formed their group. Inspired by the wilderness paintings of Tom Thomson, a group of Canadian landscape artists formed the Group of Seven in 1920, 3 years after the death of their mentor Tom Thompson (he died under suspicious circumstances – he was found floating in a river in an Ontario park with a head injury). The artists traveled all over Canada and sketched and painted what they saw using bold colors and strong decorative brushstrokes and style. The Group of Seven contributed how Canadians saw their own country and the created a new Canadian expression. In 1920 the To Group of Seven had their first exhibition, and became popular as the first artists to capture the feel of the Arctic on canvas. The Group of Seven’s last exhibition all together was in 1931 because MacDonald passed away and the Group of Seven broke up. Although the Group of Seven artwork was similar, each artists had a distinct style. Arthur Lismer’s ‘A September Gale’, J.E.H MacDonald’s ‘The Solemn Land’, and Tom Thomson’s ‘The Jack Pine’ represented what the group stood for in the broadest sense, and are perhaps the most famous Group of Seven paintings. The Group of Seven style is not illustrative or photographic; it is more interpretive as the artists selected what they wanted to convey to the audience. Most works involve one particular scene in an ‘interpretive realistic’ sense where the artist takes a real subject (ie a rugged landscape) and emphasizes / exaggerates certain features he feels are significant. The colors in many Group of Seven paintings are not realistic, but they give a mood of roughness and boldness. Even though the Group of 7 only lasted about 10 years, it spawned the creation of a larger group – the Canadian Group of Painters. Today the Group of Seven is popular and recognizable by most Canadians, yet their art period eventually transformed into different forms of Canadian expression.